The 2019 Ford Mustang convertible is an icon despite its flaws

Drop-top fun and 460 horsepower outweigh the low-rent interior.

The Ford Mustang might feel low-rent at times, but its popularity is undeniable.
The Ford Mustang might feel low-rent at times, but its popularity is undeniable. –George Kennedy

The Ford Mustang convertible has been redesigned for 2019, following the same updates made a year ago to the Mustang’s coupe version. Those updates include an all-new front-end design with updated headlights, grille, and lower-front fascia. In back, the taillights have a new “boomerang” design, and our GT test model featured an awesome quad-outlet exhaust system.

Not much has changed inside the Mustang, which is … fine.

This Mustang goes for a throwback look, but it comes off kind of cheesy. The rival Camaro also has some over-the-top styling elements but manages to keep its homage to its predecessors feeling a bit more fresh.

Advertisement

With features like a touchscreen running Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it’s a little hard to pull off the retro-futuristic theme. There are some smart-tech updates for 2019, like the new fully digital instrument cluster. When you click the drive mode selector into Sport+, the instrument panel changes to emphasize critical performance driving data.

The presence of features like a modern touchscreen make the “throwback” look a hard sell. —Ford

The front seats are comfortable, but Ford commits the sin of having power adjustment only for the base of the seat. The seat-back is still manual-adjust, meaning that adjusting while on the move is a bit of a trick. And — as is the case with most convertibles — the rear seat barely fits more than an extra bag or two.

Boston.com Dealer Specials:

If Ford is going for throwback, the convertible is appropriately basic. You still need to manually unlatch the top from inside the vehicle, and once the top’s down, you must place plastic covers on the sides. Consider that many modern convertibles are fully automated, and there are even power-folding hardtops that are far more advanced. As with many convertibles, visibility in the Mustang is extremely limited when the top is up.

The plus-side of this 1980s-era tech is defined trunk space. Some convertibles require you to lower a shelf in the trunk to create a basket for the convertible to fold into, which seriously cuts into trunk space. Such action is not required on the Mustang, meaning you can load it up with gear, worry free.

Advertisement

The base engine in the Mustang is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder. It makes 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. That’s impressive for a four-cylinder engine, but it’s no match for the Mustang GT’s 5.0-liter V8, which makes 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.

Power is put to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or a new 10-speed automatic transmission. We drove the automatic version, which managed power well while returning around 17 miles per gallon, but the manual would have been far more engaging. EPA numbers for the V8 convertible are 15 miles per gallon in the city, 24 on the highway, and 18 combined.

With the dual-mode exhaust, the Mustang often feels like it has more bark than bite. There’s a howl once you start the car, and again any time you accelerate. With the top down, you can tap the throttle and rocket ahead, accompanied by the fantastic soundtrack of the exhaust.

The Mustang’s quad exhaust lets out a harsh roar. —George Kennedy

Mustangs always feel precarious in corners. Perhaps it’s the long wheelbase. For whatever reason, the Mustang GT always feels ready to break free of grip — and not in a fun way like the Challenger Hellcat. And even the MagneRide adjustable damping system can’t instill confidence. There’s a reason why the most common car show burnout fail videos on YouTube feature Mustangs.

Ford recently celebrated the production of its 10 millionth Mustang. And while many car enthusiasts value a car based on its rarity, the Mustang is the automotive version of asking someone what kind of music they listen to and hearing them reply, “everything, mostly the hits.” The Mustang may be one part tribute band to its past self and one part rental car, but the result is affordable and undeniable fun.

Advertisement

The 2019 Ford Mustang starts at $25,845. The four-cylinder-powered convertible starts at $31,620, while the GT Convertible Premium we drove starts at $44,855.

Under the Hood:

Engine: 5.0-liter V8
Transmission: 10-speed automatic transmission
Drivetrain: Rear-wheel Drive
Power: 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque
Top Speed: 155 miles per hour
Also Consider: Chevrolet Camaro SS, Dodge Challenger R/T